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Towson lawyer’s love of dogs leads to novel idea

Towson attorney Kim Manuelides with two dogs.

Towson attorney Kim Manuelides with two dogs.

Along with balancing holiday preparations and her work for a Towson real estate firm, Kimberly A. Manuelides has also spent the last month participating in book signings for her novel, “Getting Home.”

“I was just so giddy about the whole process I was like, ‘Guess what! I wrote a book!'” she said. “Everybody at the office here has been so supportive.”

Manuelides is of counsel at Sagal, Filbert, Quasney & Betten, P.A. but has been passionate about animals most of her life. She and her husband adopted an Entlebucher Sennenhund 15 years ago then adopted a second soon after.

Two recent adoptions, Bonnie and Atari, inspired “Getting Home,” which is written from the perspective of two rescue dogs and their elderly canine mentor. The book details how a difficult past can impact dogs and how they overcome traumatic experiences.

“It’s fascinating, to me, how people have reacted to” the book Manuelides said. People stop her to talk about their similar experiences with rescue animals.

“If you’ve known, even, an adopted child, it resonates,” she said.

‘I’m going to explode’

Manuelides started writing after taking Bonnie and Atari out to the park for the first time. She prepared for the worst, fearing runners, bikers and other strange things could spook the pair. But the dogs did fine and, as they returned to the car, she wondered what they were thinking.

“This dialogue just started in my head,” she said. “By the time I got home I thought, ‘If I don’t write this down, I’m going to explode.”

The elderly dog in the story is based on Sasha, who died earlier this year at 16, and was a steadying influence on Bonnie and Atari.

“It was a good way to reminisce about Sasha as she got older,” Manuelides said.

Though she wrote the book as a creative and therapeutic exercise a little more than a year ago, Manuelides said family and friends who read the manuscript recommended she look into getting it published.

Munuelides said she used her legal connections to find her eventual publisher, finding Baltimore-based 1st Ride Publishing.

Learning the ropes

The process has been fascinating for a first-time author, and Manuelides said she learned a lot about the industry from going through the editing and publishing process.

The training club and agility class where Manuelides takes her dogs hosted impromptu signings for the book, which was released at the end of October, and the publisher has held several signings for Manuelides, occasionally with other authors.

Manuelides is donating the profits from the book. Money from the first run of 100 copies went to the Ohio-based animal rescue where Bonnie and Atari were taken off “death row.” Remaining profits will be distributed to local animal charities, Manuelides said.

Manuelides said she hopes readers see the emotional journey dogs take when they have multiple homes and problems socializing. She began work on a sequel recently based on other rescue dogs she knows.

“They’re going to love you, but they’re also probably going to be scared of you and come with a lot of baggage you will need to deal with,” she said.